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Wednesday, May 23, 2007


After having a sumptuous tocino (was it grilled?) and freshly brewed coffee at Traveller’s, we rushed to the GL Trans bus station near the Sagada municipal hall and information center. First trip’s at 5am, 7am then an hourly depature until 4pm-ish. Together with Joyce, Julie and Lourdes, we took the 7am bus departure.

At 2pm, we were already in the Victory Liner bus station in Baguio, getting a ticket back to Manila for the next day. That’s where we were picked up by Patrick, a boardmate wayback college days, followed by a bye-bye moment with the girls (we’re Friendsters now!). Patrick had us billeted at Baguio Harrison Inn. Price range is from P500 to P600 for a room good for two. The cheaper room uses a common toilet which was fine with us since we availed the same accommodation in Sagada.

First adventure in Baguio, if you’re really going to categorize it as such, was an ATM challenge. My bancnet card was rejected by the first ATM we saw (PNB along Session Road). And again, in the second one (BDO). We passed by a branch of Equitable Bank but the queue was like Kennon Road. I can almost hear the P200 in my wallet protesting for a company. I was already considering asking Patrick later for money, worst case scenario. Then we found an RCBC branch, my payroll bank, still along Session. For the third time, my ATM card was rejected. Five minutes before the bank’s closing, I got in and withdrew money through the teller. Lesson for the day: consider having vacation on business days.

Next stop was at Don Henrico’s. Short and filling. I just wanted to check if my credit card was working. The seafood pasta was good though.

The rest of the afternoon was spent browsing and haggling through the “ukay-ukay” jungle. I think we’ve tried three buildings, a block or two apart, with three to four storeys each, looking for a gem (a jersey, a signature bag, shoes, designer shirts, etc.). We ended up just browsing. At least I can say that I have “been there, done that” (Baguio is said to be the original “ukay-ukay” haven).

Our semi last stop was SM Baguio. Honestly, the mall was my only itinerary for Baguio. I just wanted to see the open-air interior and the claim that it’s the only SM having that architecture must be certified. So off we went.

The mall is seated on top of Session Road. From afar, you can already see the building as if you’re looking at a castle in Far Far Away. Small souvenir shops will greet you at the façade’s ground level. They have shirts printed with (as far as) Sagada and Banaue. A fruit market is just erected nearby. We went directly to the terrace, the mall’s top floor, which is overlooking the city (nice view from there). The evening summer breeze provided a unique tranquility that only Baguio can offer.

Right before we left SM Baguio, we visited the Astroplus branch to score a CD (an old Sandwich album) and a VCD ("Umaaraw, Umuulan"). The magic sing (or is it magic mic?) was tempting us. And the sales clerk probably read our minds. One of us had to sing. And just like a true-blooded Amazing Racers up for a Road Block challenge, one of us sang “With a Smile”. No futher details, your honor, but for sure, it was fun.

At around midnight, we met Patrick and the rest of his badminton friends. We had late dinner (pizza, pasta and beer) at Volante’s (still along Session). We capped the night with one videoke song each (and more booze!) at a Japanese-inspired beer joint in front of Alberto’s.

In the morning, we have set our minds that everything should be back to reality. Vacation was over at 8:30am, Tuesday, May 2. We took a Victory Liner bus, where “Spiderman 2” was being shown, back to Manila. “Spiderman 3” was waiting for us at 9:50pm in Greenbelt 3.

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